The ferry channel runs close to the islands, giving passengers a good view from the ferrys, and fisherman a good view of the ferrys as they cruise by hour after hour. Four of these routes can be found along the Outer Banks, and allow visitors to access portions of these barrier islands that would otherwise be unobtainable without a private boat or plane. Don’t forget the gourmet market, or shop our beautiful linens for your bedroom and bath. In the past decade, the NC ferry system has made routine checks of IDs and licenses as part of the Homeland Security Program, so travelers are advised to have these identification forms handy at all times. Feel the ocean breeze and taste the salty beach air as you cruise the Outer Banks beaches in our exclusive OPEN AIR, 13-passenger Hummers with one of our seasoned guides in search of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs! Stay on trails and avoid disturbing nesting birds and other wildlife. Depending on the ferry and the number of vehicles that can be accommodated, boarding time may take place anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes before actual departure time, so its best to arrive early, and travel on the safe side. Reservations are not required. We use cookies for measurement, ads, and optimization. There are currently nine boats total that fit under this class, most of which can be found at the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry docks. Ferry travelers who are interested in what vessel they are taking to their destination of choice will notice small signs along either side, as well as small detailed color schemes which pays homage to a local North Carolina university. Though technically not part of the Outer Banks, visitors should be advised that there are three other routes that service other regions of the North Carolina coastline. Outer Island, the outermost of the Thimble Islands, located off the coast of Stony Creek, Branford, Connecticut, is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. We also feature coastal books and fine art, or just a whimsical fun gift to bring home to family and friends. While every ferry crossing is certainly different, there are a few universal rules and guidelines that every ferry passenger should keep in mind before heading on board. In the rare event that your vacation, or your preferred route on and off the islands, is affected by a hurricane, simply check with your vacation rental company to see what travel options are available. Outer Islands Ferry Berth is a wharf in Yap. The closest "big" towns to Swan Quarter include Bath, Washington, and Belhaven, which makes this route one of the most secluded in the Outer Banks. A peaceful excursion, the Swan Quarter ferry is rarely full, and is an ideal mode of transport for travelers who want to relax away from the crowds, and enjoy the ride. Be sure and make a stop by the Aurora Fossil Museum or the Minnesott Beach golf course, and make your road trip expedition to the Outer Banks a key part of the fun. Visitors can spread out over more than 100 miles of pristine shoreline. The original T.A. In Staten Island, the northern shores were spiked in piers, competing ferry operators braved the busy waters of New York harbor. New exclusive rights to the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Swan Beach allow us to view the horses in their natural environment. Date of experience: September 2020. In the 1920s, there were policies in place by the North Carolina DOT recognizing that ferries would have to be implemented by the state to provide transport to areas that could not be serviced by roads, (locally, Ocracoke , Hatteras and Knotts Islands.) Call our Chamber office at (252) 441-8144, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday, EST. It was nice to see a large island a few minutes out from Hatteras, with a few hundred pelicans on it. Over the years, certain routes became obsolete as bridges were built, providing even easier transport to and from the islands. As such, the route generally only has between 2-4 crossings per day from either side, which typically run from the early morning hours to about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. In addition, vehicles and passengers must follow instructions of the NCDOT ferry personnel, not enter the captain's area or engine rooms, (and observe the roped off areas), and basically adhere to common sense at all times. A small coating of sunscreen before you arrive at your Outer Banks destination will surely ensure a good vacation to follow. Founded in 1984 on the coast of the Outer Banks, NC, Farmer’s Daughter still remains a destination for people wanting great quality, outstanding selection of unique clothing, accessories, and gifts at affordable prices. … Read more. Most families in a typical 2-axel vehicle can expect to pay about $15 for a Pamlico Sound crossing. These routes include the Bayview / Aurora ferry, the Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach ferry, and the Southport/Fort Fisher Ferry. The trip is generally just as entertaining as the destination, and thanks to the NCDOT's ferry system, everyone has access to some of the Outer Bank's most pristine and treasured destinations. With the ability to carry up to 50 vehicles and withstand hours on end of navigating through choppy salty sound waters, these ferries are easily the hardiest of the bunch. There are no reservations required for any of these three ferries, and there are regular crossings that generally depart every 15-60 minutes, so coastal explorers who want to stick close to the water will find plenty of routes to explore. You will sail for 4 hours 45mins to Castlebay on Barra. The CalMac ferry leaves Oban and glides down the Sound of Mull, past the pretty houses of Tobermory and Ardnamurchan Point (the most westerly tip of the UK’s mainland) before a short crossing over the open sea to Coll. In addition, all ferries have a strict set of rules for passengers travelling across the open waters. In addition we will be marking space out in waiting areas to ensure proper social distancing and will have hand sanitizer at the ticket windows and on board the vessels. That said, there are areas of North Carolina that due to National Park Service guidelines, tumultuous inlets, or generally unbuildable waters, will predictably always require the services of a state-run ferry system. Aran Island Ferries welcomed Ireland's largest and most environmentally friendly domestic passenger ferry, 'Saoirse na Farraige', to the fleet earlier this month. Tillet, the trip was actually accessible, and the southern Outer Banks slowly gained a reputation as being one of the best natural beach destinations in the world. The largest of the fleet, the Sound Class vessels are designed for longer routes, with greater capacity and might. Out Skerries are considered by many to be a miniature version of the Shetland Archipelago. Ocracoke Express Passenger Ferry Safety Precautions: We intend to take the necessary measures and precautions in order to protect our passengers and crew from the spread of COVID19. Keep your eyes peeled for the name of your boat, the school, and the class for an in-person look at the different classes and types of vessels that serve the diverse regions of the Outer Banks. For a complete look at the NC DOT Ferry service schedules and fares, please visit, or download the full Ferry Schedule here. The smallest class in the Hatteras Class, which can often be spotted at local Knotts Island and Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry routes, where crossing shallow sound waters is an everyday routine. In line with Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 147, we will be requiring all passengers to wear face coverings while on board both inside the seating area and on the deck. The day trip to Knotts Island is an essential trip for nature lovers, boat lovers, or anyone who likes to see the day-to-day operations of a small coastal community. The spectacular view from Rundown Café’s newly renovated upstairs Hula bar deck is unrivaled on the beach. During this timeframe from the 1920s to the 1950s, other privately-run regular routes were subsidized or bought outright to keep the fares low or nonexistent. Currently, the NC Ferry System has 8 River Class ferries total, which serve a number of routes, although Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry passengers should lookout for the Stanford White or the Croatan, both of which make regular appearances during high traffic days. With reasonable fees (if any) and regularly scheduled runs, everyone is advised to make a ferry trip a fun part of their upcoming OBX vacation. Reservations are strongly recommended in advance to ensure a spot at one of the limited crossings, and can be obtained by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY or online at To make a reservation, call 1-800-BY-FERRY or book online at Other privately run ferry services popped up all along the coastline, including one to Knotts Island, and several to the southern Cape Lookout National Seashore, but on the Outer Banks, Tillet's service seemed to have the most regular traffic. Thankfully, after decades of operation, the North Carolina Department of Transpiration (NCDOT) has ferry operations down to a science, with daily operations that rarely skip a beat, and hundreds of trips occurring every day throughout seven coastal North Carolina routes. Take along some grub. The Hatteras / Ocracoke Ferry is easily the most popular of the Outer Banks ferry routes as it provides transportation to thousands of day-trippers every summer who want to explore Ocracoke's gorgeous beaches, eclectic shops and art galleries, and fantastic waterfront restaurants. There is no smoking, and no alcohol allowed on any part of any NC ferry. The islands are particularly scenic with a rugged coastline of cliffs, arches, blow holes, stacks, voes and beaches which offer plenty of hiking and walking opportunities. *** N.C. Highway 12 remained closed in between the NPS Pony Pens and the Hatteras ferry terminal as of 1:00 p.m. on Monday, due to ocean overwash that occurred with the morning’s high tide. Out Skerries is a group of small islands 9 miles east of Vidlin on mainland Shetland. On days with great weather, the route can become popular, so day-trippers are advised to show up early, (very early - the first crossing of the day begins at 6:00 a.m. from the mainland), to ensure a spot aboard. Black Pelican oceanfront restaurant is one of the Outer Banks’ premier restaurants serving lunch and dinner daily. For a walking trip around the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, or to bring your 4WD truck to the relatively undiscovered beaches of Portsmouth Island and tour the miles-long island in its entirety, be sure and review your privately run ferry options. Outer Brewster Island is owned and operated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. With unparalleled views of the open water, and not to mention no driving or traffic to compete with, a ferry ride can be a relaxing way to start a coastal tour, an afternoon excursion, or a full-blown week of vacation. Last Name. Helpful. Truly an Outer Banks family tradition, Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant has been owned & operated by the Miller Family since 1982. While planning a vacation that includes everyone in the family, including a beloved dog or other pet, can initially seem a little daunting, on the Outer Banks, it's actually an easy affair. Both the Cedar Island and Ocracoke ferry terminals offer vending machines, restrooms, and visitors' centers with gift shops, area information, and reading material to enjoy during the crossing. That said, the area is also adjacent to Mackey's Island National Wildlife Refuge, in addition to some fantastic boating and kayaking routes that lead directly to Corolla and the northern Carova beaches. The ferry is a completely fun part of any Ocracoke or Hatteras Island-hopping adventure, as the 40-45 minute shuttle across the Hatteras Inlet provides spectacular views of the Hatteras soundside beaches, the small handful of sandbar islands, and the inlet facing beaches of Ocracoke Island. This diversity is simply an indication of how varied the routes are, how time consuming, and how popular a destination or local route may be. Our ferry route network covers around 195 countries and regions across the World with a choice of more than 3507 routes. For a total exploration of the different cultures of the Outer Banks, an Ocracoke day trip via the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry will allow visitors to access an entirely new coastal world, while making the journey an essential part of the fun. While the Hatteras – Ocracoke ferry is the most convenient of the Outer Banks ferries for North Carolina visitors, there are actually a number of ferry routes located throughout the region, including: The Knotts Island – Currituck County Ferry The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry The Ocracoke – Swanquarter Ferry The Outer Banks offers plenty of opportunities for a healthy, family fun vacation. But it was Tillet's route that both exemplified the necessity of reliable ferry transportation on the Outer Banks, and also introduced new Outer Banks vacationers to the incredible beaches of Hatteras Island. Dedication to quality food and service shines through with every meal and is comparable only by the beautiful water views. Service is provided year-round to the communities of Kodiak, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions; however, weather restrictions preclude ferry service in the winter to other communities of this region. The restaurant offers seating on the deck, as well as more intimate seating inside either the upstairs bar or more family oriented downstairs dining room. The Cedar Island ferry terminal is a scenic 30-45 minute drive away from other North Carolina coastal attractions and classic towns, including Beaufort, Morehead City and Emerald Isle, making it a popular spot for road-trippers who are exploring the entirety of the coastline. Bear in mind that even in the 1920s, Hatteras Island had a hardy local population of well over 1,000 people across all seven villages, who needed to leave the island from time to time. Tillet who first opened up Hatteras Island for tourism, as avid duck hunters and fishermen would travel to the southern Outer Banks from as far away as New England to make the long trek to some fantastic waterfowl hunting grounds and surfside fishing. Usually, there is a hierarchy involved, allowing homeowners and locals first access to the island, followed by visitors. The most notable of these private ferry captains was Capt. At approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes, the frequency of runs is based on seasonal demands – typically ranging from three to seven departures daily from each point. Boaters should use caution when navigating to the island. For CalMac ferries, it's recommended to book tickets in advance wherever possible, although you can normally buy foot passenger tick… They have a full bar and a menu suited to a host of tastes. Also, there’s no risk of boredom with our list of social-distancing compatible activities! Explore Hatteras Island at its natural best with a visit to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is exactly why a ferry trip isn't an arduous part of the journey, but a destination in itself. The NC Ferry System operates three classes of ferries that are used in specific routes depending on the travel time, shallowness of the body of water itself, and the number of regular vehicles that frequent the route. Today, the 24 ferries transport hundreds if north thousands of vehicles daily to a variety of locations all along the North Carolina coastline. Baum route was replaced by the Manns Harbor Bridge and later the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, while the Oregon Inlet route was disposed of in 1963 upon the grand opening of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge. Passenger ferry service aboard the Ocracoke Express now runs seven days a week from July 3 … Along with good food, they feature a nightlife that includes live music, karaoke and a DJ dance party. For those traveling to the Outer Banks, The Cotton Gin is a beloved landmark with its large windmill and picturesque gardens. Phone: (877) 629-4386. The highest number of ferries cross during the weekdays, Monday through Friday, while 4-5 ferries run on the weekends providing transport to visitors and locals alike. One of the little known sights visible from the ferry is the "breech" that occurred during Hurricane Isabel in September of 2003,. 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